Giving Up This One Makeup Product Is the Best Decision I've Made in a While

Updated 04/21/17
Beauty Editor Makeup Tips
Milk Makeup

It's no secret: I dig makeup. I enjoy it in all forms—weird experimental makeup involving tattoo stamps and black lipstick, no-makeup makeup featuring dewy skin and long lashes. I like the meditative process of applying makeup in the morning and the adrenaline-boosting process of opening a new product. If I let myself, I could spend two hours every day playing with the stuff. I guess I'm in the right line of work?

Here's the problem, though: Because I'm such a makeup junkie, sometimes I fail to remember (and not to get all cheesy on you) that the whole point of makeup is to wear it, not have it wear you. Historically, I've been known to let my enthusiasm take over, leading to such makeup mishaps as distractingly heavy brows and quantities of glitter that should be illegal for adults. Recently, however, I decided that I'm ready to leave my worst makeup mistakes behind me.

Speaking of mistakes and adulthood, at 25, I'm finally at a place where I want my everyday makeup to look sophisticated and grown-up. I no longer care for my routine to feel like a high school science experiment—I want it to feel streamlined and effortless. After all, as fun as it is to play with makeup, it can also be stressful, frustrating, and time-consuming.

These thoughts were validated earlier this year when I had two professional makeup artists evaluate my routine and tell me which products I could stand to lose. (Glittery highlighter and powder bronzer were among them.) Since then, I've taken their professional advice and made a few additional tweaks of my own. These slight shifts in my daily makeup routine have brought me so much unexpected tranquility that I had to share them with you. Keep scrolling to learn how replacing five makeup products made me a truly happier person.

Instead of powder highlighter:

Glossier Haloscope in Quartz
Glossier Haloscope in Quartz $22
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If I had to describe how my beauty routine has changed overall, the main theme is that I got rid of any products that require a brush. In the spirit of streamlining, I've swapped my powders for the easy-to-apply, easy-to-wear stick, gel, and cream formulas. And that all began with a highlighter.

Admittedly, I was a victim of last year's highlighter craze. Much of my 2016 was spent discovering, purchasing, and applying different highlighters, each one more blinding than the last. It took a sobering conversation with celebrity makeup artist Suzy Gerstein of Honey Artists to remind me that highlighter is supposed to be "believable in direct sunlight," which the insane powders I was using certainly were not.

These days, I've been applying a mere whisper of Glossier's dewy highlighter with my fingers to the tops of my cheekbones, tip of my nose, and Cupid's bow. The easy, light-handed application has saved me tons of time; plus, I realize now that a subtle, believable dewiness still makes me look glowy and elevated but never like I'm wearing a costume—which feels so much better. That's not to say I've ditched my glittery highlighters for good. There are a time and place for them. But this simpler highlighting routine has definitely made my daily life easier.

Instead of bronzer:

RMS Beauty Master Mixer
RMS Beauty Master Mixer $38
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I've been dousing my fair complexion with bronzer ever since the mid-2000s—a habit that only grew after contouring became such a thing when I was in college. But Gerstein finally opened my eyes to the fact that bronzer isn't actually necessary to look healthy and glowy (especially not for every day). In recent months, I have totally skipped this step, and because my natural skin tone is actually visible now, I look so much more like myself. Leaving out the powder bronzer is also much more "modern," as Gerstein says.

To warm up my complexion, I still apply a nude-pink blush every day (my favorites are by Kjær Weiss and Nars), but if I'm in the mood for a sun-kissed look, then I just tap the apples of my cheeks with RMS's bronzy Master Mixer, a recommendation from Byrdie's news editor Victoria.

Instead of liquid liner:

Nudestix Magnetic Eye Color
Nudestix Magnetic Eye Color $24
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This may come as a surprise to people who know me personally (or those who follow me closely on Byrdie) because the winged liquid liner has always been my "thing." But lately, the meticulous process of applying it just hasn't brought me joy. That may sound silly, but at some point, I realized that I'm ready for a departure from my signature cat-eye.

Instead, I've been applying a line of Nudestix's Magnetic Eye Color in a shimmery rust shade to my upper lash line, and I've been loving it. The product glides on effortlessly and takes thirty seconds to apply (a relief from the 10 minutes I'd spend on my cat eye). Plus, the final look is current and sophisticated in all the ways I want it to.

Instead of matte lipstick:

Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist Tinted Lip Balm
Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist Tinted Lip Balm $50
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I am so into the glossy makeup trends making the rounds right now: glossy lids, glossy cheeks, glossy lips. They've given me an excuse to do away with the matte liquid lipsticks I've been forcing myself to wear, and my lips are so much happier for it. These divine (albeit pricey) Sisley lip balms offer all the pigment I want while being ridiculously moisturizing. Dior's new Lacquer Addict Sticks ($35) and Milk's Lip + Cheek ($24) are two more current favorites.

Instead of finishing powder:

Boscia Clear Complexion Blotting Linens
Boscia Clear Complexion Blotting Linens $10
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Maybe this is just me, but I've never been a fan of an ultra-matte complexion. A little dewiness on the skin looks healthy to me, and recently, I finally decided that's just how I feel, despite what anyone else says. So instead of applying a mattifying powder at the end of my routine each day, I simply dab my T-zone with a blotting sheet, which removes any excess oil but leaves my skin looking natural and fresh. 

Each of these makeup tweaks is so simple, but all added up, they've made a big difference in my daily stress level and confidence. They make me feel like the best, easiest, purest version of myself, which is all I could ever hope for my makeup to do.

What's a great makeup tweak you've made lately? Let us know in the comments below!

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